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 Cava Guilera 1927

Pere Guilera. Grandson of the business founder; owner, oenologist and vine grower of Cava Guilera.


 
In the far 20s, my grandparents Isidre Guilera and Maria Sardà were farmers in Can Batlle. My grandfather was in charge of making the wines that were to be used, afterwards, to make cava, at the cellar the owner had in Sant Sadurní. He did not know first-hand the process to make cava, but curiosity led him to look it up in a book from the owner's library: Vinos de Champaña y vinos espumosos, by P. Pacottet and L. Guittonneau, a book that is still today considered to be the bible of cava.


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In 1927, and still as a farmer in Can Batlle, he decided to make his own cava; an adventure whose success and continuity were still unknown. However in 1933 a farm, la Masia de Ca l'Artigas, was put on sale and my grandparents decided to buy it, including the vineyards that the joint owners did not want. It was a wise decision but it was a risk, and it was not easy: a wasteland, a house in a bad condition, a cellar that needed rebuilding and, most of all, the context of shortage and suffering of a war.


My grandfather Isidre made little cava, but with much care and long ageing. I recall him saying: "...when you deal with wine, cleanliness, cleanliness, cleanliness"; a proof that he attached much importance to details. Meticulous, serious and rigorous, his philosophy was quality, as it is ours. And this is his heritage, the seed of a dream that has never lacked its followers.

My parents Pere Guilera and Maria Massana decided not to devote only to cava: they redisigned the cellar, purchased machinery and started growing cereals, they made oil and had a farm. I arrived to the cellar when I was about 30, determined to fully devote myself to the making of cava, and now yes, in an exclusive way. And now my daughter Marta has come to organize the enotourism project of Cava Guilera. 

 


Vitis vinifera S.V BC 


The vine originated in the East. First planted in Persia, it was taken later on to Palestine probably by a traveller. It reached Greece from Asia Minor and the first oenologists were from Greece. It is not very clear how the vine arrived in the Iberian Peninsula, but there are texts and archaeological remains that locate the vine and wine rudimentary production in Penedès during the 5th Century BC. Romans designed and built the Via Augusta and they planted a vine in each and every village they founded in their way. So here is the vine, but it will still need to follow a long way.

 

Mediterranean trilogy: cereal, olive tree and vine


During the Middle Ages, agricultural colonization took place in Europe. The warm climate of that period allowed cultivating wheat and vine all over the continent, even in Greenland, where it arrived through the European Nordic colonists. Brandy —distilled from wine, became a very popular alcoholic beverage in Europe. However, by the end of the Middle Ages, the so-called ‘Little Ice Age’ started, which made vine growing impossible in the North of the continent. France quickly became the main brandy producing and exporting country, but long war periods against Great Britain and Holland —the two maritime and commercial powers of that time, caused Garraf coast first, and Penedès afterwards, to be the new and most important supplying regions. Olive tree and cereal had been so far the prevailing cultures, but they lost their historical hegemony and a new age started, that was to continue until today, where vine growing is absolutely dominant: the process of viticulture specialisation had begun >>> 1717: cereal 70% - vine 29% / 1771: cereal 43% - olive tree 21% - vine 52% / 1860: cereal 6% - olive tree 1% - vine 92%.

  

Phylloxera crisis


In 1863 the presence of Phylloxera was detected in France, and by the end of the seventies the battle was definitely lost: the whole vineyard in Gallia needed replanting with a specific variety of American rootstock, which is immune to the plague. Catalan wine importation increased in France and what was a misfortune for French people resulted in expansion for Catalan people: sales suffered a dramatic increase and cultivation of vineyards extended enormously. On the other hand, incipient cava production started in Penedès. In 1879 the Phylloxera reached Girona and in 1886 it was detected for the first time in Penedès. This insect spreads inevitably, devastates everything and leaves a really distressing view. During the early 20th Century, over 80% of the fields were full of dead vines. Vine was progressively replanted, but due to the Phylloxera crisis, Catalan wine-growing changed. Vine in the Penedès was consolidated mostly due to cava industry, but it suffered a dramatic decrease and even disappeared in many Catalan areas. The first Viticulture and Oenologist Station in Spain was created in Vilafranca del Penedès in 1901. It devoted to research and dissemination of wine-growing techniques among wine-growers and business people.

 

Sources: De l’aiguarent al cava, 2003. Coordinador: Josep Colomé. El Cava, 1995. Jordi Olavarrieta. Estudi: Atlas del paisatge de la vinya, 2004. UAB (EGIPP) i Fundació Abertis.


Cava Guilera. Masia Ca l’Artigas, s/n. 08739 Lavern (Subirats) – Penedès – BARCELONA. Gps: 41º 23’ 55’’ N – 1º 46’ 13’’ E
I també Rodalies Renfe R4 · Parada: Lavern – Subirats. A 10 minuts caminant de Cava Guilera!
Tel. (0034) 93 899 30 85 – info@cavaguilera.com / martaguilera@cavaguilera.com
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